American Anthropological Association Executive Director Ed Liebow Set To Retire

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Dr. Edward Liebow today announced his plan to retire from the American Anthropological Association after having served as Executive Director for the past ten years. The official date for his retirement has been set for July 1, 2023.

As Executive Director, Liebow has worked with the Board, Section Leadership, and the members to put a strategic plan in place that recognizes anthropology’s complicated history and moves the Association forward in a way that prioritizes building trust and accountability as an anti-racist organization, building equity into the global circulation of anthropological knowledge, promoting belonging through a practice-friendly membership value proposition, and increasing public awareness of the important contributions our field makes to advancing human understanding.

Liebow noted that it has been a privilege and an honor to work with such a talented staff and dedicated volunteer leadership over the past decade.  “This has been an exciting, albeit challenging time, during which the Association has sharpened the focus of its vision for the future, all the while maintaining solid partnerships that serve our members and help to advance the field,” he said.

The Association has worked hard to strengthen international collaborations and alliances with sister societies in the humanities and social sciences, implement innovative approaches to meetings and conferences, make substantial progress in enhancing equitable access to Association meetings, inaugurate and grow the Anthropology Day celebration, advance the AnthroSource publishing portfolio, and revamp the Anthropology News member news magazine. Additionally, we revitalized pre-college initiatives, advanced the Association’s public education initiatives on race and migration, launched the open anthropology research repository and the community science partnerships, and provided strong, scholarship-driven advocacy on academic freedom, health disparities and responding to emerging infectious diseases, human rights, climate change, immigration policy, border walls, and heritage preservation.

Before becoming the Association’s Executive Director, Liebow had served as an elected Executive Board member, Association Treasurer, President of the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology, and on numerous committees and task forces. During his term as Executive Director, he also represented the Association on the boards of the Consortium of Social Science Associations and the National Humanities Alliance.

The Executive Board will begin the search process soon, with AAA President Ramona Pérez expressing appreciation for Liebow’s support for a seamless transition, and for his service to the Association.

“Ed’s leadership has been integral to the many successes the AAA has had over the last decade,” Pérez said. “He set out to move the work of anthropologists into the forefront of the public’s understanding of the human condition and policy makers’ agendas, and he has had successes in both areas. We are grateful to him for his vision and focus on the future of anthropology in the academy and in the private, public, and NGO sectors.”

Pérez added that she is especially grateful for the care that Liebow has shown with staff, AAA volunteer leadership, and its members in addressing the challenges presented by a global pandemic and increased social and political unrest. “While we are still wrestling with the many challenges of the last several years, Ed is leaving us with a strong foundation and a secure vision for the future. As we recruit our next executive director, we do so with the confidence and excitement of an organization in an outstanding position to advance the goals of our new strategic plan.”